tv Q A CSPAN February 27, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am EST
p.m. eastern on c-span3. next, "q&a" with winslow wheeler. the international reaction to the situation with libya, and c- span's conversation with former arkansas governor mike huckabee. >> this week gone "q&a," winslow wheeler, director of the straus military reform project at the center for defense information. he discusses pentagon spending as well as congressional oversight of the military budget. >> winslow wheeler, director of the straus military reform project at the center for defense information, if there is a new book coming out in a few
weeks call the "pentagon a labyrinth." what is it? >> it is a 150-page guide to the pentagon. their art and authors. each of us pick out a subject area that we had 30 or 40 years of experience in. some of the essays are truly extraordinary to give people an insight beyond the superficiality of how the pentagon operates and how to cope with it and how to understand what is doing. in the struggle --in the struggle to find a title, i quickly rejected the "pentagon for dummies" title. and i asked some others if i -- the missing manual series, if they could steal their title, and they said no.
we settled on "the pentagon labyrinth." the distortions and bales that the pentagon uses to hide what they are actually doing. >> why are you doing this? >> i think our system is breaking down. the system of checks and balances is not operating properly. i worked on the hill for 20 -- 30 years, and congress has three essential powers, the power to go to war, the power of the purse, and the power to investigate. the first two powers, to go to war and of the purse, are meaningless if congress does not exercise the power to investigate, and it is not doing that. it is doing a lousy job. it is actually trying to not investigate things, and that was my motivation. others who contributed to this
have been observing the pentagon's system from the inside or the military services from the inside and are very disturbed, concerned, worried about what they are seeing and are trying to educate a new generation of people to cope with the problems we have, to understands the problems we have, and to find ways to fix those problems. >> to bring everyone up to date, who may not have seen our other interviews, you have worked interviews, you have worked with many, the senate budget committee, and you also worked nine years for the general accountability office. diego, it was called at the time. last week on this program, former secretary of state donald rumsfeld was here, and i asked him about something called the
iron triangle, which she wrote -- he wrote about, which is the congress, the committees on the hill, the defense department establishment, and the defense industry. you is what he said when i asked him about that question. >> and the three of them get together and develop a comfort level as to what ought to be. now, somebody comes in and wants to change that, namely, a president of united states gets elected, like president george w. bush, he gave a speech. he outlined what he thought should happen, how it could be brought into the 21st century, and any changes that could be made art tended to be made over the objection of congress, the defense contractors, and the bureaucracy. they are comfortable with the way it is. they have concluded that that is the way it ought to be, and if a president gets elected that comes into office with different views, there tends to be natural opposition to it.
there was the crusader program. i cannot think of a worse name. it was an enormous artillery piece, which took aircraft anywhere in the world. certainly not something that was appropriate for the 21st century and the asymmetric situation we are facing, and the opposition to it was just incredible. i mean, the retired community in the army, the active community in the army, the civilians, congress. >> your take. >> a couple of things. he was saying that the term "iron triangle" is something he came up with. that is not the case. the pentagon is doing a pretty good job of things. that is, i do not know what the right word is i can use on tv
for that, for example, on the crusader, he had my opposition -- mile opposition -- mild opposition from capitol hill on that, and they were pretty much willing to give up on that. he thought it was a big fight. it was not. robert gates had a fight on the f-22 and demonstrated far more skill in dealing with congress and donald rumsfeld ever did. i am not a big fan of gates, but he is a breath of fresh share fresh air compared to donald rumsfeld. >> why do you feel that way about donald rumsfeld? >> i saw your show last week and was reminded how aggressive and petulant rumsefeld was. and petulant rumsefeld was. the thing that came to mind this morning was when he used
the word "conspiracy" with the initiation of the war in iraq. he was trying to prevent you from using that word. but behind all of that bluster and tough talk, there is not much there. donald rumsfeld was one of the most unsuccessful secretaries of defense that i have ever observed in 30 years of covering -- 40 years of observing the pentagon. an amazing combination of tough, aggressive talk with a failure to cope with issues as they are. he certainly thinks he understands things, but he has this superficial view about a lot of these issues, and it was a very unfortunate experience for america to have him as secretary of defense. >> the reason that i showed you that letter that was written in 1998 is because all of the people who signed it, almost
all of them, went into the administration, and i probably should not use the word "conspiracy," but the point of showing you that letter, it said in 1988 -- in 1998, that saddam hussein should be taken out. they succeeded. is that not a tremendous success from his point of view? that he was successful? they set out to do it, and they accomplished it. >> he did not understand the problem they had. he thought that the problem was to march to baghdad and kick saddam hussein out, and then what? he did not know. he did a poor job of mustering the the attack on baghdad. remember, halfway up towards -- it got stalled halfway up towards baghdad, and it took us
longer to go through what one analyst called the most incompetent armed forces of the world, the iraqi armed forces, and then when we got there, there is a complete failure to understand what we had just done. done. a christian, western nation, we had just occupied a middle eastern, muslim nation. and we expected what? we expected them to thank us for it? we expected them to behave towards us like we were liberators? it takes an abysmal lack of appreciation for what you are actually doing to have that kind of approach to the problem. he said in an interview that we did just fine up to the mission accomplice statement by president bush on the aircraft carrier, and yes, we took baghdad, but you got yourself
into a hole that we are just beginning to get out of eight years later. it was a disaster for american policy in the world. it tore us apart domestically. it helped to bankrupt our defense budget, even though we have been spending huge, additional amounts of money. it is precisely that kind of blundering that gave us motivation to write that book, "the pentagon labyrinth," to explain how you can look good -- look at these things on the front end and then make informed, insightful decisions about what the heck you are up to. >> one of the things you talk about is the budget, and i want to throw up on the screen something you had in one of your chapters, and we can talk about that.
it shows that there is a base of $548 billion in the defense budget of 2011. >> which is already under way. >> and then, the point of this is, though, if you go down, the war spending was not included in the budget, and the total budget was $712 billion, but then you add up a lot of things not stated in the budget. the department of energy has $18 billion in it, $7.60 billion for miscellaneous defense, and you have got homeland defense with $43 billion more, veterans affairs. it goes down, as you can see there, even interest of $47 billion, to over $1 trillion for the defense budget. is that a fair, in your opinion, assessment? >> of course. defense with a small d. this is will be paid for
security in this country. the pentagon is obviously a big part of that, but when the pentagon holds its annual press conference on the budget, it does not even reveal its entire budget. nonetheless, the press assiduously copies from the press release and throws out those numbers. they fail to point out in the press release, there is another $5 billion of mandatory spending. sometimes they do, sometimes they do not add in the nuclear weapons from the department of energy. sometimes they do add, sometimes they do not add things from the stockpile. the selective service. that is the so-called the national defense budget function, that we see each year, the president's budget, but beyond that, there are all of these other security things. homeland security, state department, even some in the treasury department that paid for health care. >> why is that the case? why is there money in the treasury department for defense health?
>> the one is to get them out of -- the cynical and serve is that they want to get them out of th the defense budget so they would not count there. pure and simple, defense costs were personnel issues. >> there is another chart that i want to throw up on the screen that is in title the dod budget through 2011. tell us what that is. >> the pentagon spending, just after world war ii, normalized to 2011 dollars. in other words, the dollar values are all equal throughout that chart. we are now at a point where he will outspend ronald reagan. what is not on that chart, we
now have today the smallest- ever navy, air force, an army we have had since the end of world war ii. our equipment, major equipment, is older. the data on training and readiness is scattered and mostly classified, but what is available publicly indicates we have got serious problems about how well we train. in a capsule, in an ever- increasing post-world war two high level of spending, we have high level of spending, we have got the smallest fighting -- -- less ready to fight military that we have had since the end of world war ii. >> what is that the case? >> because congress is not exercising the oversight function, because the oversight function is dead inside the pentagon, our system of checks and balances is not working right, we have a system that,
inside the pentagon, inside congress rewards. -- rewards costs. -- rewards costs. the breakdowns are pervasive throughout the system. we have been doing it for decades. this is not a republican or a democratic or a conservative or a liberal problem. they have all participated. there are extremely rare exceptions. on capitol hill, for example, people trying to do something about this. those people are very rare. and they are not being listened to. >> here is another clip from secretary rumsfeld, where he talks about the requirement of congress. >> 74 pages long was the bill,
and when i came back, in the year 21, if i am not mistaken, -- the year 2001, if i am not mistaken, it was over 500 pages, so in the interim, they went up by a multiple of two or three. the continuing layering of requirements, generally stimulated by the defense community or stimulated by the democracy, all of these things, hundreds of reports are required by the department of defense. defense. hundreds of letters have to be answered for all kinds of detailed things. >> your take on that? >> it is correct. in the 1970's, the defense authorization bill was a few score pages long. it is now about 1000 pages long.
it is not just the report requirements that have thickened the legislation in the accompanying documentation. congress engages in all manner of micromanagement, which moves it from there to there but accomplishes nothing in reality. part of the process here is the appropriations in defense or authorizations from the 1970's, they may have been 20 or so earmarks, mostly by committees or appropriations, and they would occupy a few paragraphs in the bill and a few paragraphs in the committee report. now, we are now down to about 2000 of earmarks that occupy
page after page in the documents that accompany the defense bills. defense bills. it generates all kinds of language inside the bill itself. what i am trying to say is we have a thickening of the process. but we do not have an improvement in the process. the staff on capitol hill has grown by leaps and bounds. they justify their existence by generating this legislation. generating this legislation. -- this kind of brownie in motion in legislation. and a lot of it generates a huge amount of bother for the bureaucracy. >> let me ask you, when ronald reagan was president, they were talking about a 700 ship navy. -- a 600 ship navy.
did they ever get the 700 ships? >> to 600 ships? >> yes. secretary of the navy. >> but today, and you say they are below 300. why did that happen? >> we also spend more on the navy now than we did in the reagan era. >> in constant dollars? >> yes. about half of what we had in the reagan era. one of the things that is happening here is the unit cost. you see a dramatically in airplanes and ships. the per unit cost is going far faster than the budget is growing. what that means is that each year, more money, less ships, planes, whatever, and the rate at which you are buying them is slower than the rate at which they are aging. there by the shrinking navy at increasing costs. >> why is that we went from 600 to below 300?
who decided that is what they wanted to do? and why? i mean, the strategic reason is what i am looking for. >> it is the end of the cold war, the collapse of the soviet union and its navy, but, know that today, the bass parts of the pentagon budget, the parts that are not included in the war stimulus are now $553 billion. the cold war average spending was $450 billion in the same- value dollars. value dollars. so in the absence of a huge, conventional threat in the form of the soviet union and its navy and its air force and so on, with them gone, we are actually spending more, but we generate a force far smaller than the one we had.
>> let me show you a chart on aircraft carriers and ask you to explain this. this is not in your book. it shows that there are 11 aircraft carriers in the united states currently operating, two in italy, two in spain, and you can see there, u.k., france, russia, brazil, thailand, they only have one. china is building a couple of carriers, i guess. why do we need 11, and the rest of the world adds up to 10? >> the u.s. navy, they are now all nuclear-powered. all nuclear-powered. 90,000 tons or more, anda certain length. none of those other carriers are
that size or displacement. some of them are not even capable of conventional landing and takeoff aircraft, the vertical takeoff types of airplanes that are tremendously limited in their capability. some of them are just helicopter carriers. so it is not just that we have 11 and the rest of the world has 11. the 11 that rest of the world has -- they do not really compare it to us in terms of cost. >> we have more than 11 if you throw in the helicopter ones. >> if you want to include the thai and the italian ones, that would include most of our big, amphibious warships, used for helicopters. >> what is the point of 11 giant nuclear-powered aircraft carriers? >> it fills our image of our role in the world. we have come to think in this
country that we have some sort of responsibility to police the world that expresses itself in all kinds of ways, and one of those ways is with aircraft carriers, that when there is a problem somewhere, there is this silly sort of public image of the carriers, as if that was going to solve our problems. secretary gates said last summer that maybe we should have just eight of them, and he currently -- apparently got an earful from the navy, he retracted his statement later. the 11 aircraft carriers are part of our national self-image. i think that is about to change i think that is about to change it, if iraq and afghanistan
taught us anything. it is that we are fools to be doing these kinds of things in these countries, like we are doing them a favor. along with a change in the vector of the defense budget in those few years, we are going to see a re-thinking of just what we think we are doing out there and what we need to do, and one of those answers is going to be about the fate of the aircraft carriers. >> when does this book it? >> the electronic version is out right now. if you google it, you can get a download version. i am going to print the first 500 copies and take them to a book event this week, so, yes, it is coming out. >> meanwhile, secretary
rumsfeld's book is no. 1. he has been very successful. why do you think that? >> because he had a publisher behind him. behind him. >> he has gone to tons and tons of interviews. >> yes, he is a big deal. the publisher has gone to great lengths to get him on tv and to all kinds of events. it has been, quote, a major book, end quote. book, end quote. i have not read all of the pages of it, but what i understand is is basically a long staff memo that he did not write but edited, basically, full of his version. of how to run government. i suspect it is not going to go down in history about how to
run governments. >> but he did also bring with the book the free use of his website. that has 20,000 items on it. it is free. rumsfeld.com. you can get on and research it. >> we are doing the same thing. all of the footnotes in "the pentagon labyrinth." pentagon labyrinth." some of it is extraordinary about the history of these weapons and the history of about the history of these pentagon behaviors, and so on. rumsfeld's staff and we came up with the same idea about making
this available. we go one step further. anybody who writes to us will get a free copy of the book. we have a nominal fee of $10 at amazon. it will be up there quite soon. it and so, it is not just the subsidiary materials that are free but the entire text of our book is for free. >> the center for defense information. it is paid for by what group? >> foundations and board members. we do not take a single penny from the manufacturers. we do not take any money from the united states government or any other government. i started working for them in 2002 when i left capitol hill, and it is a remarkable place to work. i have never had the kinds of phone calls i used to get when i worked on capitol hill, where somebody i worked for said,
"what do you say?" intellectual freedom to go where i think the facts take me is an extraordinary privilege. >> there is a cover group called the world security institute. who is that? >> it is the umbrella under which cdi exists. this is part of the center for defense information. and this is part of the wsi, world security institute. it is an umbrella of organizations. basically, i am pretty much the last person standing. times are tough right now. times are tough right now. but it has been a pleasure working. >> what do you mean "times are tough"? >> things are drying up. >> i have got a list here, 2009, foundation grants for
$3.30 million for the world security institute, and then $660,000 came from individual giving, so you say that the foundation part is drying up? >> yes, tough economic times. the defense part is one of it. >> do you think it will survive? >> i hope so. it is needed. it was founded in the 1970's as part of the landscape. part of the landscape. there are officers who were not trying to pimp for the budget, but it was too one-sided, and they were trying to balance it out. >> can you give us any indication of who the foundations are that contributed
to? >> the ford foundation, the education foundation of america, those are two that come to mind. >> the biggest ones? >> i cannot tell you. the finances -- the less i know about the finances, the better. i do not want to have that in the back of my head, you know, if i write to this, will somebody say this? the people on the board i work with, they are happy about that. they have allowed me the freedom to write and say what i think the facts are. >> "the pentagon labyrinth" has 10 essays. "to help you through it clause " it says. who are some of the other offers?
-- authors? >> sure, altogether, by my calculation, we have over 400 years of defense issues. there are some extraordinary author is here. tom christie,one spent more than 15 years in the civilian bureaucracy, overseeing weapons testing, the field tests of weapons. pierce bray, to as much as pierce bray, to as much as anybody else is responsible for systems like the a-10, along with some colonels. chat richards -- chet richards,there are those colonels involved in intelligence issues. strategies and how to assess strategies.
chuck spinney, there are some really historic issues about the systems and the political methodology we used to start and make endless buying a certain weapon. weapon. >> they can watch the senate armed services committee and on this side of the house a lot, but i want to go to one and should use some video from the 2010 hearings of the senate armed services committee, and what we see on the screen is general petraeus at the beginning talking to people. what do you see as you watch this? >> i see a mass of staffers in
the background. do not think for a minute that they are under-resourced. you see right now the schmoozing between the chairman, the ranking member, and the witness. it is not an adversarial situation. joe lieberman. he is giving a short schmooze, and then they're going to the hearing. >> could that not just -- politeness? >> it is part of the ritual. not to have an adversarial meeting, and the committee membership has indicated to the witness this is going to be an easy meeting for you. we are not going to have a stand-up attitude towards you. your our buddy and let's schmooze. we will all have a nice little
chat here. >> i will ask a question before each one of these clips. what is wrong with this? we can watch them, and then you can come back and explain them, and i asked our viewers to do the same thing. the first one is carl levin, the chairman of the armed services committee. >> how many afghan troops are there currently in kandahar, and about how many afghan troops do we expect will be there in september? >> mr. chairman, i will be happy to get that for you for the record. if i could rather just provide the overview of what it is that we are trying to accomplish in that area, and you certainly touched on the importance of getting the afghans in the league. --we had a video teleconference with general mcchrystal this morning. others participated in that, and in that, he described, for
example, the brigade going into the districts around kandahar, to work with their afghan partners, so they can do what president karzai wanted, as he announced, in the shira, with the 500 or so local leaders there in discussing what is coming to kandahar province, which is that afghan forces leads wherever possible. >> what is with that? >> levin has for a long time made a big deal about the afghan security forces carrying a bigger load. he asked the question, how many of them are going to participate in this major operation in kandahar, and incredibly, petraeus says, "i do not know. i will get that to you." it demonstrates all kinds of
incompetents to me. first of all, if this is a big deal, and levin is head, petraeus should know it, if he was properly prepared. he did not prepare for that. he did not tell us. he did not figure out what the -- what levin was asking and what he needed to know. levin did not say to petraeus' staff, "i need to know this." thirdly, after petraeus said, "i do not know," levin never again in that hearing that i know followed up. saying, you better find out right now. there are staffers behind you. get this data to me. this hearing will not end until you get it to me. levin was not running the
meeting, petraeus was. he was making sure that no real information is getting to that committee. >> we are going to keep the volume down on this, but it was senator levin who gave, i do not -- senator joe lieberman who gave, i do not know know if you call it a speech or not, but i think senators get five minutes or sometimes 10 minutes, but you made a point of this. >> is no question that it is a speech. >> what is wrong with that? >> it is an oversight hearing. he is wasting his time, and he is wasting my time. i want to find out about what is going on in afghanistan. i do not care what is going on in joe lieberman's mind. as was done with william rogers in the 1970's about vietnam, he was picking up information, and in some cases, knew more than the witness about what he was
asking. i want to find out about this war and what is going on. i do not want to know joe lieberman's political opinion on it. i will send him a letter if they want to get a speech from him. >> another senator, let's watch what he does, and, again, what is wrong with this? >> general, we all on the committee understand that this is an important time in afghanistan, and i think it would be useful to consider president karzai a reliable partner. it is sometimes hard to understand what he says versus what he does, and vice versa. i have some questions in that regard. how do you explain what is his mercurial personality? one day, he talks about the taliban, and the next day, he goes down to kandahar.
i knew one person i have great respect for, and what do you think his departure might mean? maybe even crucial police training effort? >> thanks, senator. on the first question -- >> well, what is wrong? >> he is asking a question. he deserves points for that. he asks two questions. this is kind of like callers into talk shows, and then i will hang up and listen to the answer. >> the witness can filibuster, and he will never get that second question. >> tell the witness to shut up. you get another question. who is in charge?
the witness or the person asking the question? the answer was a vague answer. karzai has a tough job, and we are working on these problems. what jacob javits told me in the 1970's, he said, "do not again ever ask me to ask a question you do not know the answer to." in other words, he wanted me to be able to talk as the witness was answering, saying, "that is not entirely correct, that is not entirely complete." instead, you have a guy asking a question. it is almost a dinner talk type of question. they sort of chew it over, rather than use the information to ask follow-up questions. there was none.
and to use the opportunity of having this witness giving you information that you need to be able to legislate and decide what that authorization bill should contain. >> the next one is senator scott brown, the republican from boston. this is only seven seconds long. so let's run this. >> mr. chairman, i want to ask questions and then render any time i have. >> what is wrong with that? >> not a very good chance of follow-up if you are not going to be there to hear the answer. he is flinging something out there, expecting, i do not know what. he will not know because he will not be there. >> but he can read it in the record. >> perhaps.
given that performance, i bet he never looked at the record. if i recall correctly, the question he asked about was about the warlords in afghanistan, and that is a very important issue. i would expect, if you think you have got a question important enough for you to ask in a nationally televised hearing, i would expect you to sit down and listen to the answer, and then i would expect you to ask some follow-up questions. "well, you forgot to answer this, general." or, "having said that, i have this response." instead, if you watch some of these hearings, you will see senators actually read questions off from a list prepared by staff. the answer will be provided, and rather than ask a follow-up question, they will read the next question on an entirely
different subjects. >> ok, well, let me run this last clip from senator hagan. this is kay hagan, a woman from north carolina, who is a senator and a democrat. again, what is wrong with this? >> improved security conditions throughout afghanistan coupled with financial incentives and job opportunities can lead to effect a reconciliation, and i know that u.s. officials have inclusion of the taliban in a future afghan government so long as any former militants joining the government break with al qaeda, lay down their arms, and accept the afghan constitution. my question is, outside of june 4, has president karzai begun translating his reconciliation in reintegration initiatives into a program and policies? >> well, first of all, senator,
i would say that is a quite accurate and nuanced description. of the situation in the basic concepts behind this. that is exactly right. >> what is wrong with that? >> well, you saw her not really asking a question but essentially reading it off. she was doing a job of checking her staff memo in front of her and sounding like it was her question, but it was apparent to me that she was reading from her notes. the staff memo. secondly, we are having one of these schmoozing operations again, where she reads off the sort of high-minded policy question, and petraeus butters her up with, "oh, this is such a nuanced question, senator."
one i heard that, i said to myself that this was a question planted by petraeus, possibly. it is not uncommon for a staffer to call up the staff of the witness before a hearing and say, "well, what do you want to be asked?" and a staff person would say, "well, here is a high-minded policy question that you can ask us, and we will give you a serious answer, and we will all sound like we are doing important things here." >> the people we have been listening to over the past 45 minutes, some will say this man is cynical, he is negative, he has no respect whatsoever for the congress or the military or the pentagon. the pentagon. answer those. >> i have immense respect for the congress and the military. i do not have respect for the people occupying them right now. i have immense respect for the people of the military who are doing what they have to do in
afghanistan and in the past few years in iraq. i have immense respect for the military officers i have been working with for a long time and people inside the pentagon. and people inside the pentagon. my problem, my cynicism, is a result of observing the way the leadership of this country has been behaving for the last few decades. when i first came to capitol hill in the 1970's, we had some national problems on our hands. we had watergate. we had vietnam and china. we had vietnam and china. -- in the china. -- indochina. back then, there were some people who seriously took on those issues and try to grapple with them and deal with them seriously. we do not have that now. >> what about general petraeus? i mean, he has spent an enormous amount of time, or general childers over there in afghanistan. what kind of marks do you give him? >> i think he is pursuing a
fool's errand in afghanistan. i think the surge he is being credited with in iraq was not a reason why we have a less disasterous ending in iraq than we could have had. for example, we are able to withdraw from iraq not being kicked out. al qaeda is not an operative entity in iraq. the sunni revolt that was a large part of the reaction to our occupation in iraq was suppressed, not because of the
surge, but because the sunnis got sick, and they needed to affect change. affect change. their decision to change their behavior in reaction to the occupation proceeded the surge. it was not caused by the surge. general petraeus has a lot of status in this country, but it is my view that he got lucky in iraq, and we will see how it turns out in afghanistan. so far, it is not turning out too good. >> but you can also look at what is going on in the middle east right now and conclude that the united states' effort in iraq and afghanistan has spread, with this democracy, some of these other countries have hit the streets. we have been watching that for
the last couple of weeks. >> i do not see that at all. >> why not? >> because these are indigenous situations that started in tunisia. they were imitating what was -- they were imitating what was -- they were not imitating what was going on in iraq, and i am not real clear on just how democratic the situation in iraq is. it certainly is not democratic in afghanistan. something far more -- something far more -- government by autocratic regimes, and these reactions are entirely indigenous from the bottom up. not because of american policy. in fact, in places like egypt, we were buddy buddy with the reviled regime in iran for a long time. to pretend that we somehow
stimulated the insurrection in egypt sounds like, you know, neocon dilution to me. -- neocon delusion to me. >> back in 2001, the pentagon started calling for the need to buy tankers to re-fuel airplanes. i think it was 100. >> right. >> this is 10 years later. this thing has been up and down and up and down over 10 years, where we do not have new tankers today, and they still have not made a final decision on who will get them. people have gone to jail. it has been awarded to one company and then taken away from them and put out to bid again. what is this about from your perspective? >> it has been about the acquisition process we have in
the pentagon and the way industry interacts with it. it started, like you said, 10 years ago, and senator ted stevens floated an abysmal idea of purchasing boeing aircraft as tankers. li's purchase, -- lease purcha se, the world's most expensive way. >> why did he want to do that? >> because it was not paid for in the procurement budget. leasing is paid for in the operations and maintenance budget, and that means you have got more money to play with in the procurement budget. it also means that the money you are spending in the acquisition is going to bleed into things -- eat into things like training and spare parts in the oem budget, but those were not things that senator stevens was particularly concerned about.
>> what was he concerned about? what benefit would it have been to him? >> it was a good idea behaving >> it was a good idea behaving -- he thought it was a good idea, that way is a good idea. in his case, i do not think it was the primary motivation, but a couple of months after that, he was handed some contribution checks from boeing executives. but i do not think that was his primary motivation. i think his primary motivation is he thought that was the government. -- that was good government. >> up and down over the years, and who got into it, and are we going to get these new tankers, we meaning the pentagon? >> yes, incredible ups and downs, but like you said, one person went to jail for her behavior, darleen druyun. >> boeing employee? >> she was immediately after
she left the pentagon. >> she had been in the air force and the pentagon. >> yes. senior acquisition, dealing with boeing. she was with boeing. as she was representing the air force, and it took her job, and she ended up in jail, thank god. >> you also right in here, in one of your chapters, about the business of staffers looking over their shoulder for their next job, and you were there. is this something that has always been there? if you are working on the senate armed services committee staff, you think about going to work for either the pentagon or going to work for one of the defense companies. >> they think a good staffer is somebody who goes to work for the pentagon. that means you are really a quality guy or woman. imagine this.
. pass to see -- overseas purchases of the f-35, and your job is to make sure that it is effective and affordable. meanwhile, your ambition to go work for the air force as their senior acquisitions executive, so you are going to ask all of these really aggravating, tough questions, and you are going to aggravate those officials who are in a position to offer you a job? that is not the way it works. you are going to cozy up to the air force. they will give you some information, as much as they think they want you to have, and you will be skillful in how you handle that information, and you will be convincing your boss and everyone around you, and you will land a job at the pentagon, and that is how our system of checks and balances breaks down. that staffer before the armed services committee should be an
aggressive son of a gun with that program, and he should not care in the slightest how many people get angry at him because he is asking uncomfortable questions and exposing things. >> i know you cannot walk of the congress and go downtown to lobby for a year or two, depending on what side you are on. can you walk out of a job as staff to a defense contractor right away? >> there is a period of about one year where you cannot work with people you worked with on the same subjects. >> but you can work with a subcontractor? -- the defense contractor. >> yes, you can work with the international operations of xyz. give them advice on how to deal with capitol hill. you cannot lobby on specific issues, but sometimes, the
definition of "lobby" gets a little tricky, and you can get around that sometimes. >> how long have you been there? >> since 2003. -- 2002. >> we're talking about nine years. from your perspective, any accomplishments you have tried to bring about over the last years? >> i think so. one of the things we focused on was the f-22. i think we need to look at what -- we have educated the system as to what the airplane is not. it is too expensive, also in terms of performance. same thing for the f-35. >> are they going to stop production of the f-22? >> well, that is a good question. it has been stopped. >> what is the unit price?
>> $355 million per airplane, plus, it is actually going up now. there is some follow-up work. we have done a lot of work on the f-35 and pork. i think we have affected the system, and i think we have been a small part of a change that i think we are in the midst of right now. the national attitude toward the defense budget is that it needs to be controlled. >> we are out of time. winslow wheeler. the book is called "the pentagon labyrinth: 10 short essays to help you through it." where can you get it? >> at some web sites. cdi.org, pogo.org. the simplest yet is to simply google the terms "the pentagon labyrinth." >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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